If you can’t remember the last time you saw a player score a goal in seven consecutive games, you’re in good company.
Checkers forward Drayson Bowman, who accomplished that feat in the team’s most recent game in Milwaukee on Wednesday, can’t either.
“I was trying to figure that out the other day,” he said. “I know I’d never done it as a pro, and I don’t think I did it in junior, either.”
As it turns out, he didn’t, which is saying something for a prolific spell with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs that included 89 goals in his final 128 regular-season games. He came close, scoring 12 goals in a six-game span back in 2007, but outside of what was surely a dominant pee-wee career, seven games is uncharted territory.
“I’ve been trying to get my shot off quickly and in tight spaces,” said Bowman, who also credited chemistry with linemates Zac Dalpe and Riley Nash over his last three outings. “I’ve been getting the bounces and those shots have been finding their way in.”
Bowman’s streak is one of just five goal streaks of seven or more games in the AHL over the last three seasons. Three of them were last season, including Tyler Johnson’s season-long, nine-game streak that took place during Norfolk’s incredible 28-game winning streak. A few more games could put him in even more exclusive territory, though he’s still not even halfway to the all-time record - Alexandre Giroux’s 15-game streak with Hershey in 2008-09.
Since he began coaching the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in 2008-09, Checkers coach Jeff Daniels doesn’t recall one of his players putting together a streak like this, though he didn’t seem shocked that Bowman would be the one to do it.
“A lot of guys want to score goals, but Bow has always had that mentality,” he said. “He wants to be that guy.”
After just one month of the season, Bowman, whose best previous streak as a professional was four games, is already almost halfway to his career high for an entire AHL season (17 during his rookie season with Albany in 2009-10). There’s a good chance he would have had more than that last year, when an extended NHL stint limited him to just 42 games with the Checkers, but he hasn’t been anywhere near this pace since his final seasons with Spokane.
It’s not as though he’s never had the ability – he’s long been considered one of the best natural goal scorers in the Carolina prospect pipeline since the team drafted him in 2007 – but he, like several of his teammates, has found a new level of consistency this season.
“He definitely has a lot of confidence, as do a lot of guys on our team right now,” said Daniels. “That’s what helps them go out and do it every game.”
With NHL recalls out of the question for the time being, Bowman, who scored a career-high 13 points in 37 games with the Hurricanes last season, is free to continue his assault on the AHL, which he currently leads with eight goals in nine games played.
“He deserves a lot of credit,” said Daniels of Bowman, who also has a league-leading four goals on the power play. “He’s finishing those chances and scoring some timely goals for us.”